It’s been a pretty good month at Bearded Gentlemen Music. I can tell because I’m scouring the 60-ish new releases I heard in January to find material for this end of the month column that wasn’t covered by our staff, yet still memorable. In other words, we’ve covered most of the essentials. These are six works worth a few words that we didn’t tell you about in January.
The story looming around the release of XE, the latest from Brooklyn avant-garde band Zs, was the addition of Liturgy drummer Greg Fox. The drum timbres are a dead giveaway, but what does come as a surprise is the chemistry he exhibits with the band when they lock into a groove on the 12-minute centerpiece “Corps”. The sound is a tad more subdued than their 2010 effort New Slaves, but the same elements (a blend of free jazz, no wave, and noise pretentiously called unclassifiable) are present and strong enough to make XE the premier experimental statement of a young 2015.
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Houston rapper BeatKing’s immaculate 2014 run was no fluke: three releases of which the highlight was the raucous Gangsta Stripper Music 2. It was on that tape where his ratchet hook machine was firing on all cylinders. The Gangsta Boo appearance on “Dat Bag” (they also did a whole mixtape together last year) and his way of addressing skinny women in nightclubs were particular highlights. On Club God 4, BeatKing is as crass as ever. Still, it underwhelms, as nods to Ray Rice and Bill Cosby aren’t going to turn away anyone who was politically incorrect enough to keep listening from his past material, but how they’re employed are rather trite. While the quality of Club God 4 doesn’t justify its massive running time, the remix to “BDA” with Danny Brown and his how-to guide on having sex and leaving a partner’s house immediately after are worth the price of admission.
The Southern California quintet’s transition from metalcore band to death metal outfit with hardcore tendencies is complete. Like their previous outing, 2012’s Hasta La Muerte, The results could use a little fine tuning, but it seems as if Xibalba have perfected their formula.
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PC Music has been teeming in electronic music’s underground for well over a year now, peaking with the massive PC Music x DISown Radio Mix. The second part of said mix was handled by trickster GFOTY (Girlfriend of the Year), which turned some rather Drexciyan production into cloying pop, with enough room left to invoke 80s teen romance soundtracks. This time around she’s inspired by stealing boyfriends and interpolating Blink-182. Is there anything she can’t do?
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Anyone familiar with Brooklyn rapper Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire can speak to his knack for finding hooks in odd places and his left-field production clashing with a few obvious sample choices (2013’s “Vanilla Rainbows” is essentially him rapping over Curtis Mayfield’s “Give Me Your Love”). The trick up his sleeve for this for-the-fans EP is to get loose over Thundercat’s “The Life Aquatic”. It’s a good sign of things to come as Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire appears to have more where that came from up his sleeve, which will be necessary to follow up the psychedelic drug fueled brilliance of Kismet.
Heath Death 2, the latest offering from Awful Records producer Ethereal is an exercise in jungle. The Aaliyah to his Timbaland, A l e x a n d r I a, shows up, as do his Optimus Pikachu counterpart 10footballerina and Awful Records boss Father (whose Young Hot Ebony album I heavily praised at the end of last year). Heat Death 2 is satisfactory work from the Atlanta producer, who may be the most visible member of Awful Records after Father. It’s s good look for the emerging label.
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I apologize for not getting around to the new Napalm Death album, which I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about. For those unfamiliar Napalm Death, they are an English metal band, whose 1980s run is widely considered seminal in the grindcore genre. I would highly recommend giving them a listen.
Keep an eye out for Future Brown, a Los Angeles electronic music collective releasing their self-titled debut album this month via Warp. The group consists of Fatima Al-Qadiri, J-Cush, and Nguzunguzu (Asma Maroof, and Daniel Pineda). Their first single “Wanna Party” with Chicago artist Tink was released last summer.
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Did anyone else catch the line in Father John Misty’s “Bored In The USA” where he says, “Save me President Jesus?” Hilarious!